Social Media – the Prequel

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, MeWe, Tictok and many more – are they new or just this century’s adaptation of human’s need to talk to people we know as well as anonymously?

Are the pictographs left on rock faces, hillsides and in the deserts of the world social media in slow motion? I think yes, along with many forms of graffiti.

I have a collection of social media examples from the turn of the 19th to 20th century – 1900s – they are penny postcards. In the US, in the early 1900s, the postage for sending a postcard was one cent and for most of the country, you could send one within 100 miles and know that it would arrive within a day, to the other side of the country 2-3 days. That meant, you could have a steady conversation with people you knew and “share” the contents with people in the post office as well – grin.

Greetings for holidays, memories of sights seen, local history, as well as photographs of yourself, friends, family, vacations, jokes, etc traveled first by trucks and bicycles and not much later by air.

People from all over sent cards and collected them as well. Here are some examples:

Grand Union Hotel Saranac Lake, New York 1905
Joe Gans (Right) first African-American World Boxing Association champion – lightweight – defending title in Goldfield, Nevada, 1906
View in Brandon, Vermont 1905
Lake Dunmore Hotel, Brandon, Vermont 1905
1905 Christmas postcard